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Peanut shell based bio-filter degrades air pollutants

10 January 2016

A biofilter that uses micro-organisms living on the shells of peanuts is able to clean air of pollutants such as methanol and industrial solvents.

Peanut shells are plentiful and considered as waste

Biotechnology expert Raul Pineda Olmedo, of the National University of Mexico, has designed a biofilter that uses micro-organisms living on the shells peanuts. A prototype filter with peanut shells cultivates the micro-organisms which subsequently degrade toxic pollutants into carbon dioxide and water, to achieve clean air.

"The peanut shell is special for these applications because it is naturally hollow and has an area of ??contact with air, which favours the development of micro-organisms," says Pineda Olmedo.

This organic material, which is widely available and considered as waste, can also be applied as biological filters similar to those used in cars, but instead of stopping dust ingress, it degrades the contaminants instead.

Pineda Olmedo says that for optimum development, the biofilter should be in a temperature controlled environment. The filter takes, on average, 28 days to synthesize the active microorganisms, including Fusarium and Brevibacterium.

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